Andrews council discusses future of water plant

The Andrews Town Council discussed the future of the town’s water plant at its meeting on Tuesday, May 28.

The board received information from Jeremy VanErman, an engineer with Commonwealth Engineers Inc., about loans from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Such a loan, said VanErman, could fund a planning study that gives council an idea of how much it would cost to construct a new water plant.

One of the benefits of going through the USDA, noted VanErman, was that it offered loan forgiveness based on a community’s income statistics. There have been instances, said VanErman, where the USDA has written off up to 50 percent of a community’s loan amount.

Before the town makes too much progress on plans for a new water plant, Councilman John Harshbarger urged restraint, as the presence of an underground contaminant in town could impact where the plant is built. The contaminant, trichloroethylene (TCE), is an industrial solvent that was used at the shuttered United Technologies Automotive plant in Andrews. TCE has been classified as a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“That weighs heavily on what we want to do down there,” said Harshbarger. “We don’t know if we’re going to be able to keep the plant in the same place or whether we need to move the wells and everything.”

Council also discussed the formulation of a comprehensive plan for the town during the meeting. The board had hoped Mandy Woods, executive director of the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development (DCD), would be able to perform that task for the town. However, council learned that Woods will be departing DCD and relocating to Arizona.

Despite leaving DCD, Woods informed the board that she would still be willing to work on a comprehensive plan for the town. Offering to perform the work as a subcontractor, Woods stated that her fee would likely fall between $5,000 and $10,000.

While council was amenable to working with Woods in that capacity, it expressed a desire for a more exact quote for her services. The board stated that it would make a determination on hiring Woods after a more specific figure was received.

Clerk-Treasurer Laura Dillon informed council that its desire to see a stormwater pipe placed on Market Street, running from Madison Street to Jefferson Street, would not be able to be fulfilled. E&B Paving, which is performing Community Crossings Matching Grant work for the town, installed a sidewalk where the board wanted the pipe to be placed. In order for the pipe to be placed now, said Dillon, the sidewalk would have to be removed.

As determinations about where to place the pipe fluctuated, said Dillon, by the time a final determination was made, it was simply too late, as E&B Paving had already begun working on the project.

In other business, Town Marshal Austin Bullock stated that he had set a deadline of June 27 for a trailer at Antioch Mobile Home Park to be cleared of mice that had infested it. Exterminators were at the trailer earlier that day, said Bullock, and would be returning as many times as needed to end the infestation. The Huntington County Health Department will inspect the trailer on the deadline date.